TED Conversations

Anne Meeker

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User-driven TED talk playlists, exploring the unexpected connections between disparate TED talks!

Today, I watched Hans Rosling's talk on the best stats you've ever seen a few hours after watching Chimamanda Achidie's talk on the danger of single stories. Halfway through Mr. Rosling's talk, it suddenly struck me how similar the two were--he warning against looking at average data, and buying into preconceived notions about developing countries, and she warning about buying into stereotypes that develop when we only hear one viewpoint about an issue.

So, I started to think. Part of what makes TED so fantastically unique and amazing is the way each speaker speaks on an entirely different topic from an entirely unique background, yet so many talks can be related in such interesting ways. These connections are really what I gain from watching TED talks as obsessively as I do.

Then, I had an idea: what if TED users watching these videos could make up TED playlists? I know that each video has a "watch this next" bar, but the problem with those is that you really don't see disparate talks, and I would love to hear the unique connections different people draw from different combinations of videos.

What do you think?

Topics: TED connections

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  • Jul 25 2011: This can be an excellent idea. A potential weakness is that users often try and draw out far stronger statements than what someone is saying, so some speakers may feel that playlists could be used to misinterpret their ideas. For instance,one could argue the two talks you're talking about are polar opposites rather than similar. One could be taken as a championing of the information in individual cases or anecdotes, and a rejection of using statistical means to sweep away huge amounts of information and focus only on variables that test as relevant. The other could potentially be championing data, saying that it's important not to get swept up in compelling stories that are potential outliers or statistical anomalies. With many different interpretations of these authors talks, should one be able to present frameworks that of talks leading to specific interpretations the original speakers might not agree with, and guide users along a course as if that was what they said? There are certainly some things to consider and work out here.
    • Jul 25 2011: That's a really good point, Tim. Maybe people could submit playlists, and they could be approved for publication on ted.com? Or speakers could approve playlists, and they could be featured, whereas regular user-submitted ones would be available elsewhere?

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